Keeping your pet safe on Halloween

Halloween may be a holiday intended for kids to dress up and get candy, but that certainly doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t get excited. I’m 23 and I still plan on dressing up, and I know several of the team members here at doggywoof will be dressing up their pups. (POLL – should Oliver wear his bumblebee costume or his Hallo-weiner costume? Weigh in in the comments below.)

Safety is always an issue on Halloween, whether it’s as a kid running around in the dark, a twenty-something heading out on the town, or a pup meeting all the trick-or-treaters who ring the doorbell. With that in mind, here are some basic safety tips to make everyone’s holiday safe and fun.

1.  Strangers in weird outfits could freak your pup out. I mean, seriously, what’s Fido going to think of all those creeps dressed in ridiculous outfits and face paint ringing the doorbell and shouting? He doesn’t know it’s a holiday, even if he is dressed up as the world’s furriest ghost. If strangers might upset or scare your dog and you think he might get aggressive, put him in a separate, quiet room and avoid the crate, which might make your pooch feel trapped and nervous.

2.  Your Halloween decorations are great, but they could be a danger for your dog. I’m sure you have the best haunted house on the block, but those creepy black candles and elaborate Jack-O-Lanterns are potential fire hazards for Fido. Keep an eye on things to make sure nobody gets hurt. Those giant fake spider webs are tricky for dogs too.

3.  Candy is even worse for your pup than it is for those trick-or-treating kids. Chocolate is one of the worst things your pup can eat, and leaving that giant bowl of Snickers, Mars Bars and Kit Kats within reach of your dog is a pretty bad call. According to the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, just 5 oz. of baking-quality chocolate could be fatal for your pup. Keep a close watch on that candy bowl! Signs of chocolate toxicity include tremors, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures and death. Contact your vet if you suspect Fido raided the candy bowl.

4.  Chocolate isn’t the only candy-related danger; watch for plastic pieces too! Lollipop sticks in particular are dangerous for your pooch – those little plastic rods can perforate your dog’s intestines if eaten, which is very dangerous. So, again, keep that candy jar away from your pet!

5.  If you’re planning to deck your pup out in costume, make sure his outfit is safe. Halloween costumes for dogs sure can be cute, but be sure your pup’s doesn’t restrict his movement, breathing, or ability to bark.

6.  Keep your pets indoors or with you at all times. We hate to admit it, but Halloween can bring out the worst in your neighborhood’s pranksters, and we would hate for Fido or Fluffy to be the victim of some teenager’s not-so-funny joke. Especially if you have a black cat (like my family’s cat, Romeo), keep your pets indoors to avoid any pranksters, and be sure your pet is wearing identification just in case he does escape the house.

If you keep these simple facts in mind, and you and Fido will be sure to have a happy (and safe) Halloween!

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